Susan Joy Solka, age 77, of Gladstone, passed away peacefully Sunday, May 9, 2021 at The Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba.
Susan was born August 14,1943, in Green Bay, WI, the daughter of Violet (Johnson) and Roderick Virgo. She was a 1961 graduate of Escanaba High School. During high school, she played the bassoon. She was a runner up in the Ms. Delta County Pageant twice and also was on the Queen’s Court in 1963 for the Escanaba Centennial. Susan furthered her education at Northern Michigan University where she obtained a certificate in secretarial work. She worked as a secretary for Harnischfeger in Milwaukee, WI.
Susan and her husband, Dwight Harwood, operated The BBQ restaurant in Rapid River for three years and then the Swallow Inn from 1971 until 1983. She also worked as a Bay Bank teller and was promoted to receptionist for the loan department for six years. Susan retired as a secretary for Escanaba Area Schools after 16 years. She loved every job she did and put her heart and soul into them.
Susan was a selfless kind and gentle person who always made sure everyone was having fun and well fed. She loved being around her family and friends, especially at Christmas time. Her Christmas Eve gatherings are legendary.
Her sunny disposition was always apparent, she was fun to spend time with. On trivia nights, not only was she a great source of correct answers, but she was also often the life of the party. Through a long and difficult illness, she maintained her upbeat attitude and hope for the future. She will be dearly missed.
Susan loved traveling and going on cruises with her husband. She enjoyed trivia and watching Jeopardy. She supported the Gladstone Jobs Daughters Bethel and volunteered for YAP, Youth Action Program.
Susan is survived by:
Son: Michael (Mindy) Harwood of Saxapahaww, NC
2 Daughters: Holly (Paul) Peoples of Gladstone, MI
Pamela (Kiowa) Kirchoff of Alpena, MI
2 Brothers: Scott Virgo of Ann Arbor, MI
Keith Virgo of Escanaba, MI
Sister: Gwen Wood (Orrin Bailey) of Buchanan, MI
7 Grandchildren: Natalie Harwood, Andrew, Dylan, Kelsey MacNeill, Mitch Pfiefer, Claire Bryan, and Jiri Solka.
1 Great Grandchild: Sevi MacNeill
And 4 Nieces: Jenny Keskey, Dana (Keith) Virgo-Weintraub, Erin Virgo, and Laura Virgo.
In addition to her Parents, Susan was preceded in death by:
Husband: Richard Solka, Sr.
And Brother: Bruce Virgo
Sue’s family would like to express heartfelt thanks to Sue’s North Woods Place Family; the team at the Bishop Noa Home for their compassionate care and especially to the team at OSF St. Francis Hospital during her recent stay. Sue received exemplary care at OSF from Dr. Joseph Steele.
The family will receive friends on Friday, May 14, 2021 from 3:00 until 5:00 PM at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Funeral services for Susan will follow at 5:00 PM at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, www.myotonic.org/donate-towards-myotonic-dystrophy-care-and-cure. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the Solka family.